One great thing about Egypt is that everything delivers. Forsoothsayer once blogged that in Egypt “you can get exotic animals delivered to you while you stand by the side of a desert road,” and she isn’t lyin’.
You can order McDonald’s, KFC, Hardees, TGI Friday’s, Chili’s, Fuddrucker’s, grocery lists, pharmecuticals (you can even tell the pharmacist your symptoms over the phone and he/she will diagnose and prescribe and then deliver the medicine,) or even snacks from the nearest cornerstore, while at home, on your couch, in your pajamas.
One thing to be aware of is not getting what you ordered, not getting everything that you ordered, or that- depending on the place you ordered from- they will come in their own sweet time. The latter happens more often when ordering from a grocery store, fast food is usually exactly that.
Tips for ordering:
1) If you have one at your disposal, have an Egyptian do the actual ordering; often the English requirements of a fast food position are loosely defined. Ordering from restaurants is usually better as the finer establishments like TGI Friday’s and Chili’s employ waitstaff that speak fairly good English, especially the ones that answer the phone. I believe half the reason I never get what I order is because they didn’t understand me in the first place and one thing you will notice about Egypt is that Egyptians will NEVER admit that they don’t understand. They could have absolutely no idea what you’re saying, you could yell at them in gibberish, and they will smile, nod, and act like they know exactly whats going on. While entirely frustrating I have to admit that it makes them look very friendly- which they are.
2) Be prepared to be loose in your decision about what you want to eat because, as you read in #1, you might not get what you ordered. Take Pizza Hut for example, we’ve ordered twice from them: once by take-away and a second time by delivery. In neither case did we get what we ordered. Or wait, scratch that, in neither case did I get what I ordered, I do believe that in the take-away Mr MM got the pizza he wanted. Also be prepared to call the store/restaurant/cornerstore a second time to give them the whatfor about what they delivered or did not deliver; we have had to do this often, especially with the grocery stores (Abo Zekry being the worst.)
3) Do not give them big bills because its highly doubtful that they will have change. While its common to get 100LE bills from the bank, heck its common to get 200LE bills from the bank, you wouldn’t give a US pizza deliveryman a 100$ bill for a 25$ order, right? Also tips are not really expected for deliverymen, they charge a surcharge for delivery most of the time.
4) Pay with plastic if possible. Credit cards are a relatively new phenomena in Egypt but you will find the high-end places accept them, it makes the process much easier especially if you have no cash.
5) This one is important- BEFORE THE DELIVERYMAN LEAVES, CHECK YOUR ORDER. Actually before you pay him, check your order, they are more inclined to go and bring you what you ordered if you don’t pay them. Incentive, you know.
While it may be fraught with tiny difficulties, ordering in just about anything you could possibly want without actually having to get dressed is a delightful luxury. Especially in the summer when its a million degrees outside.
Also, on a related note, all gas stations are full service. In fact I believe it is illegal, for whatever odd reason, to pump your own gas in Egypt. There is also someone who will dust off your car and wash your windows for you while you are being gassed up. DO tip these people, its expected. Tip them extra if its a million degrees outside, they’re poor and dammit its hot.